Fine art has long inspired the fashion industry. Taking elements of art history out of their original context and incorporating them into the fashion world has often resulted in something unique, even if the design muse is as ancient as a 15th century masterpiece.
Whether you think these collections are a delightful lesson in classical paintings or better off as gimmicky souvenir tote bags from a museum gift shop, they will no doubt be an enduring fixture in the fashion world for years to come.
Valentino’s creative director, Pierpaolo Piccioli, presented a collection inspired by art of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance in the label’s Spring 2017 ready-to-wear collection. Beyond the long and lacey dresses, striking pink jackets and cute ballet sandals belied a dark side, revealed in the prints produced by English designer Zandra Rhodes. Many bore an uncanny resemblance to medieval paintings, more specifically Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. On closer inspection, you can even see earrings shaped like gothic daggers worn by models on the runway. www.valentino.com
Jeff Koons, whom you may already know from his massive multi-million-dollar metallic balloon sculptures, collaborated with Louis Vuitton earlier this year. Fans are on either side of the proverbial fashion fence with this one. Five selected priceless works of classic art such as the Mona Lisa and Van Gogh’s A Wheatfield With Cypresses have been stretched across LV’s most famous leather goods such as the Neverfull bag and then stamped with the names of the old masters who produced them — Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Fragonard, Rubens and Titian. Further dotted over the masterpieces is Louis Vuitton’s iconic monogram, while the graphic signature of Jeff Koons sits on the bottom right-hand corner of each piece. www.louisvuitton.com
Austrian-Italian designer Peter Pilotto and partner Christopher de Vos have often taken cues from artists and artefacts. When designing the London fashion brand’s pre-fall collection this year, the creative duo was inspired by the signature squiggles of artist Jean Cocteau. They saw Cocteau’s mural paintings while on holiday at a house he decorated in the south of France and were completely entralled. Gowns in the collection thus feature continuous-line, wispy embroideries, suitable for weddings, parties and, of course, art exhibitions. www.peterpilotto.com
Mei Anne is a wonderer but more so, she’s a wanderer. Her hands twitch to get ideas out while her feet itch for a new adventure. When she isn’t writing for Billionaire.com or planning her next trip, she enjoys a good sip — of coffee, tea, and other things. Follow her on Instagram (@meiannatee) to see if she’s still obsessed with window seats on a plane and jelly shoes.